Reverse Applique

Whew! December has been a HUGELY busy month, meaning I have neglected my blog and haven’t written any blog posts in 3 weeks. I cannot believe it has been that long. Oops! Hopefully I can get back on track soon get back to a once-a-week post.  I’ve got something a little bit different today for my blog post; reverse applique.

I watch Jenny Doan of MSQC on youtube all the time, and recently I’ve started watching Rob Appel on Man Sewing. He does techniques that range from quilting to applique to making bags to a ton of other subjects. He did this tutorial on a technique called reverse applique that I enjoyed watching. Last week I was stuck at home watching my son while the poor kiddo was sick and so I had some time to attempt this new technique.

I picked a horse image- and I actually wound up Googling “tribal horse” images since you need an image that is kinda blocky for it. However, next time I might try to do some designing of my own.  What makes this technique different from regular applique is that normally you cut out the design THEN sew it on; this time, you sew on the design THEN cut it out. It’s… well, reversed. This was my final product:

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It was a fun project. I didn’t quilt around the main design since I had just wanted to focus on the main design which was the horse. There was a lot of cool points about this: you can use any colors you want, you could make it any size… the possibilites for this really are quite limitless. You could do names, team logos/mascots, sports… Lets just say I have a few ideas myself.

If you want a more detailed design and you’re not free-handing it, and instead have a pattern you’re going off of, you’ll want a lightbox. I put my pattern on the lightbox, the purple fabric on top, and then used my Frixxion pen to draw out the design. I then sewed directly on the line I drew and proceeded to cut out the middle of the design. (This is why I did tribal – it gives you more dark spaces to cut out!)img_1236

In order to cut out the design, I found that I felt better first inserting a pin, pulling the top layer of fabric up slightly (the purple) and then cutting just on top of where the pin was to create a hole to cut into where I didn’t have to worry about cutting the back fabric (the batik).

All told, this little one (I think it came out to something like 14” square) took me a grand total of about 3 hours, start to finish. It’ll go faster next time since I’ll have an idea of what I’m doing.

Could you imagine how COOL a bigger wallhanging of this would look? Or even, dare I suggest, a full-size quilt? (That’d be a treat!)

Next time I post we will be in 2017! How cool is that? I’m going to be starting a BOW quilt, so I will make weekly posts on that (it’s the Winter Solstice BOW with Pat Sloan- check out her blog).

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Happy New Year’s Eve!

Make It Rain(bow) Bargello Quilts!

Before we start off, I have to admit after writing that last post, I feel a little lame writing this one with no plans of inserting any rainbow-inspired puns into it. Oh, the hue-manity! (HAH, now I feel better. Carry on.)

Yes, you read that title correctly. Quilts, as in the plural form of quilt, as in I was crazy enough to make more than one of these insanely glorious quilts. BUT, I’m really happy I did, because now I can compare and contrast what works best and what to avoid if YOU ever choose to do this!

Back in my quilting infancy, when I thought I’d do this blog for more than just me, I found a post by Krystal Jakelwicz over at Lets Quilt Something.And seriously, when I mean in my infancy, I’m talking… 2 and a half, almost 3 years ago. But I’ve always, ALWAYS been a huge fan of colorful things, especially quilts, and I just couldn’t get this one out of my head. So I bought the two jelly rolls that you need for this quilt, opened one jelly roll and… didn’t do it for 2 years.

But, this year my quilt guild started a “UFO Challenge” where you put in a fat quarter into a pot and for every UFO you complete you get one entry into possibly winning the pot. So I pulled it out finally and started putting it together.

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Here’s a word of warning- when sewing strips together, of ANY length, make sure to switch the side you start sewing on every other strip. What I mean by that is that if you sew down the right side of a strip first, when attaching another strip to that first one, make sure you’re sewing from the OPPOSITE end. Otherwise, you wind up with a strip that bows out in the middle. And when the quilt calls for putting ALL 42 of the jelly roll strips together, you get a HUGE bow.

This was an issue because when I went to go cut the strips for the quilt, they weren’t straight. And when I say not straight, I mean the rainbow strips were more curved than a real rainbow. You can even see the puckering of the already attached strips where they didn’t meet up well- it was SO BAD. It made sewing the strips together unbelievably frustrating!! I wanted to quit 10 different times! But I’m no quitter.

It became a huge problem; to the point that by the second jelly roll I could no longer use the strip set. (Fear not, I found a different use for all that bowed fabric, as seen in my earlier A Happy Accident post!) I ended up using what I could from the second jelly roll and then just buying a 3rd one to use. Take a look at the difference below from when you sew them all the same direction versus when you sew them on in ALTERNATING directions:


Do you see the curve of those strips in the first picture?! It was awful. Learn from my mistake. Don’t do it. But the 3rd time was the charm; they went together very prettily and were MUCH straighter than the first two times. They weren’t perfect, but I think that just was because when you’re putting together 42 strips, the sheer weight of the fabric will cause a little bowing.

But, finally, the quilt came together, and I posted it on Facebook, so proud of myself. I chose a pink backing (because I love pink) and a swirling quilting pattern. I have to admit, I thought the pattern would be smaller to hit more of the top’s pieces, but it’ll be alright.

Not twenty minutes later after posting my finished quilt on Facebook, a friend contacted me and asked if I’d be willing to make her one too. And even though I wanted to bang my head on the wall, curl into a fetal position and cry, I agreed- and I am SO glad I did!

She chose to have her quilt backed in a gorgeous deep blue that matched one of the strip colors perfectly. And for her quilting pattern she chose a wave; this pattern had a much higher density, and I think really matched well with the “flow” of the quilt top. Hers is a stunning, STUNNING quilt, and if I didn’t have to give it to her because she paid me for it already, I’d keep it and put it in quilt shows. Want to see?

Having the chance to make the quilt again, I was able to avoid all the mistakes I made the first time around and make a much better quilt! Rather than posting the whole set of directions (just go to Krystal’s blog for the main directions), I will post just my “tips” for a quilt that comes together much more easily.

Tips for an Easy(er) Rainbow Bargello Quilt

  • On her website, Krystal tells you to start with the 1” strip. I found that starting with a 1” strip meant that the seams weren’t long enough, got stressed/pulled/unraveled super easily. So I recommend starting with a MINIMUM of 2”
  • For quilt #2, I started with 3.5” strips and worked down to 1 1/4” then back up. This way you get two ‘waves’ instead of just one. I enjoy the overall pattern of the second quilt more than the first one.
  • I got rid of the 1” strip altogether. The lowest I went was to 1  1/4” strip; I found that that helped prevent the seams from pulling apart.
  • If you DO wind up having a small strip where the seams are pulling apart, you can always attach a couple of strips to that side instead of the end. That is why the first quilt has 5 strips in front of the smallest part; I put those on at the very end to help keep that darn 1” strip from entirely coming apart!

Also, I got some quilt labels made on Etsy; and I absolutely LOVE them! Take a look! Ignore the stray threads; I clipped them after the photo… Oops!

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